There’s pretty good evidence that we’re on to something good.
Data from yesterday’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that economically disadvantaged students are realizing substantial educational achievement in public charter schools as compared to their low-income peers attending traditional public district schools.
While only four districts met reporting standards that allowed comparisons, the findings are consistently astounding for those that did:
In Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, and Miami-Dade, low-Income students attending public charter schools averaged 10 scale score points higher – or approximately one additional year of learning – on NAEP Reading assessments than low-income students attending public non-charter schools. (A general rule of thumb for interpreting NAEP scale scores is that 10 points translates roughly into one year’s worth of learning.)
With the exception of 8th graders in Baltimore, low-income students in public charter schools in every locale and every grade scored higher than their peers in traditional district schools. In Atlanta, 8th grade charter students scored 20 points higher (for a difference of approximately two school years).
On the NAEP Math assessments, low-Income students attending public charter schools average 8 scale score points higher – or nearly one additional year of learning – than low-income students attending public non-charter schools.
Higher math scores among low-income students at public charter schools held in every city where data was available. Atlanta, again, showed the largest difference, with charter students outperforming district students by 19 scale score points – or another additional two years of learning.
What’s going on in Atlanta?!